The Assembly and Senate are set to release their one-house budgets soon, and we’re counting on them to include the Invest in Our New York Act as a top priority. This will show the Governor that they’re truly committed to equitably taxing the rich and ending decades of runaway inequality in our state. We’re planning a statewide day action—a Citizen Action lobby day where community members at each of our chapters can virtually meet with legislators to discuss key issues. Revenue is our top priority this year because without raising new revenue, we will not have money to invest in our communities. Our statewide lobby day will be on Thursday, March 11, so mark your calendars! We’re calling on legislators to sign on to our tax the rich bills, and to support other priorities that will get New York working for everyday people. We’ll start with a pump-up rally at noon and then head into our visits with lawmakers. We’re producing all of the materials you’ll need for that day. We hope you can join us! Click here to register.
Around the State
No Charges for Rochester Police
This week we found out that a grand jury decided not to indict the Rochester police officers who were involved in the killing of Daniel Prude. Daniel Prude was experiencing a mental health crisis when he was subdued by police and he should still be alive. Police officers cannot address emotional distress situations. They often respond with excessive force, which far too often results in death for victims, especially for Black and Brown people. Prude’s death was ruled a homicide. Yet again, we witnessed a Black person killed at the hands of police with no accountability. In response, Jalil Muntaqim, Citizen Action’s Rochester community organizer, released the following statement:
“There was enough evidence to support arresting a formerly incarcerated person who attempted to vote, but in a moment where the world was watching, a grand jury failed to hold officers accountable for the brutal killing we all saw on camera. It has been said by many that “a grand jury could indict a ham sandwich” if the District Attorney so pleased. When such an obvious example of state-funded harm is inflicted with no consequences, it gives the impression that the state approves of the officer’s behavior. Does this verdict reflect the state’s values on police accountability? Click here to read the full statement.
Senate Moves to Restore Voting Rights
This week, three of our civil rights priority bills moved forward in the state Senate! Bills to restore voting rights to people on parole, ensure fair and timely parole, and clear convictions for victims of human trafficking were voted out of committee. And for the first time since its introduction, the bill to restore voting rights passed the Senate! It is now on the Assembly to make sure it ends up on the Governor’s desk. Although there is still much work to do to end voter suppression, the bill would go a long way in ending Jim Crow-era policies enacted to disenfranchise Black voters.
Education Justice Virtual Meetings
This week, Citizen Action of New York chapters and the Alliance for Quality Education partnered for virtual education action meetings to discuss the state of our public schools and why we must tax the rich to fully fund them. Click here to take action for education justice: https://p2a.co/w3lznzz.
To take action in support of the Invest in Our New York Act, which would raise at least $50 billion in new, progressive revenue to invest in our communities, click here: https://investinourny.org
Education Justice Meeting in Western NY
NYC City Council District 10
This week, our New York City chapter announced its top three choices for City Council District 10 in Manhattan. New York City implemented ranked choice voting, which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference instead of voting for just one candidate. In District 10, Citizen Action is backing Johanna Garcia, current chief of staff to Senator Robert Jackson. Citizen Action ranked Assemblymember Carman De La Rosa as the second choice for District 10 and Angela Fernandez as the third choice. Click here to read our full announcement.
“Citizen Action has been on the forefront of building grassroots movements to provide a good education for every child, protect tenants’ rights, and provide health care for all. I thank them for their work, am honored to receive their endorsement, and look forward to working together in this campaign by all of us, for all of us, to make our community voices heard to transform our city’s policies and chart a new course forward.” – Johanna Garcia, Democratic candidate for New York City Council District 10.
We Need Real Relief for Our Communities
We’re ALL IN to get $1.9 trillion in COVID aid passed by Congress! This week, our Movement Politics Director Jodi Risper joined Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, People’s Action grassroots leaders and musical guest Sam Trump to learn what we can do to get it done. Click here to watch a recording of the program.
NY Renews Combats False Solutions to the Climate Crisis
This week, NY Renews released a report debunking false climate solutions that are often marketed by the fossil fuel industry as alternatives to fossil fuels. The report details five false solutions that actually cause more harm to our environment, including biofuels and green hydrogen. Read the full report here: bit.ly/falsesolutions
Demanding Funding for Rental Assistance
On Friday, we joined our Housing Justice for All coalition partners at The Legal Aid Society and VOCAL-NY, state legislators and homeless New Yorkers to demand $500 million in this year’s budget for the Housing Access Voucher Program (HAVP). At any time before Covid-19, there were at least 92,000 New Yorkers without permanent housing. The pandemic has compounded the homelessness crisis in communities across the state. The voucher program would provide direct rental assistance to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. Click here to watch a recording of the press conference on VOCAL NY’s Facebook page.
Hardship Declaration Form is Available to Tenants
New York’s Hardship Declaration Form is available to tenants who are at risk for eviction. Tenants can submit the form to avoid facing eviction or unnecessary court proceedings until at least May 1. Click here to access the Hardship Declaration Form.
“This eviction moratorium was won through relentless tenant organizing, but its protections are only as strong as its implementation. Tenants must be made aware of their rights in order to assert them, and landlords and judges must be held accountable in ensuring this happens.” – Rebecca Garrard, a tenant advocate and Campaigns Manager for Housing Justice.
Marijuana Justice Virtual Day of Action
Wednesday, March 3
Join the Start SMART NY campaign in a virtual day of action for marijuana legalization rooted in racial, economic, and social justice! Help #PassTheMRTA and make sure New York legalizes the right way with economic and racial justice. Click here to register.
Lobby Day 101 Trainings
Thursday, March 4 & Tuesday, March 9 at 6-7:30 p.m.
To prepare for our upcoming statewide lobby day, we are offering two training sessions to help folks become grounded in our priority campaigns, what has been happening in the legislature, and why it is important that we fight for policies that build the world we want to see. Click here to register.
Reversing Runaway Inequality at 12- 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 6, part 1 & Sunday, March 7, part 2
Join Citizen Action for a political education workshop to discuss why building economic justice in our society requires us to address racism. Click here to register.
Transforming the Worldview
Monday, March 8 at 6 p.m.
Transforming the Worldview will be held on March 8th at 6:00 pm. Join this workshop to discuss our worldview and how we can share our message of transformation in order to build the world we want to live in.
Citizen Action Statewide Lobby Day
Thursday, March 11 at 12:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Real change is possible when we stand together. That’s why we’re organizing a statewide lobby day to push NYS leaders to support our 2021 legislative priorities – and why we need you to join us.
We’re focusing on housing, climate, and education justice, ending mass incarceration, and passing the Invest In Our New York Act to make our vision of a New York that works for ALL of us into a reality! Click here to join us!
Join the Movement
Citizen Action of New York is building power in communities across the state. Our members are the reason we’re able to do effective grassroots organizing and achieve justice for our communities. Our members give what they can when they can, and each contribution is directly invested in local leadership development. Click here to support.
There are many ways to get involved right now. Click here to contact a Citizen Action chapter in your area and ask how you can get involved locally.
“There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.” – Fannie Lou Hamer